Backyard photographyBirds

Colorful Afternoon in the Backyard

Sometimes the best birding spots are those closest to home. Like your own backyard. It’s springtime and my feeders are full of Painted Buntings and American Goldfinches. We’ve had a pair of Gray Catbirds that sit on opposite sides of the yard and meow at each other. Our Brown Thrasher pair is back at the bird bath. From time to time, we hear the calls of Eastern Bluebirds in the treetops. So I headed out into my backyard last Saturday afternoon to put out a couple of perches near feeders and photograph the birds who happened to settle on them. It was fun. :)

Painted Bunting (Male)
Painted Bunting (Male)

In previous backyard bird photography sessions, I waited for hours before a male Painted Bunting happened onto my staged perch. This year I got lucky and it happened in a few minutes. :)

It’s pretty simple to get photos like this. Over the years, I’ve observed that the birds fly to my feeders by following a pattern. They peek out of the bush and wait till they feel safe. Then they fly to a shepherd’s crook or similar perch, sit there for a few seconds, then hop over to an open feeder port.

So I took a walk around the neighborhood, found a pretty branch, and placed it between the bush and the feeder. The birds immediately accommodated me by hopping to my perch. Then I sat back in the shade, put my camera into Silent shooting mode, and wait for the birds to come. It doesn’t take long.

Palm Warbler
Palm Warbler

Nearby, this Palm Warbler was searching for bugs in the flower bed. He was starting to get into his breeding colors, bright yellows and rich browns that make his normal winter plumage look pretty drab. He’ll be leaving FL soon to head up north to breed.

Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrasher

This Brown Thrasher stayed on the perch for about 10 seconds, making a number of strange faces as he considered a jump to the feeder. Then he returned to the flower bed and started thrashing through the mulch. He helpfully leaves all the mulch on the lawn. ;-)

White-Crowned Sparrow (Juvenile)
White-Crowned Sparrow (Juvenile)

My last visitors of the evening showed up just as the golden light started to fade. Three White-crowned Sparrows, all juveniles, calling quietly to each other as they checked out the salvia seeds. This was the first time I’d seen White-crowned Sparrows in the backyard. It was a nice way to end the afternoon as the cats helped me update their backyard Life List.

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